VIJAYAWADA: A city-based doctor S. Nageswara Rao knocked off `AP16AP-16', the fanciest registration number in the recent past, elbowing out a city MLA and a thriving travel agency, running scores of buses, from the race.
What left the officials awestruck was not the young man, representing Dr. Rao, proudly walking away with the number, but the money he spent on it - Rs. 1 lakh.
What's more surprising was that the number was not intended for any luxury car. A motorcycle, costing about Rs. 80,000 - much less than the money spent for the number - was registered with this number.
These dramatic moments unfolded at the auction of `AP16AP-16' at the RTA office here recently. With `AP16AP' series is given to vehicles registered in the city, there has been a lot of competition for the fancy numbers.
This series is not given to other registration points (like Gudivada and Machilipatnam) in Krishna district. Other combinations like `AP16AR' and `AP16AS' were given to other centres.
The `AP16AP' series began in Vijayawada RTA limits only a few days ago, with the allotment of numbers ranging from `AP16AP-1' to `AP16AP-9999'. There would be a thousand numbers in each series.
The catchy repetition of AP16 in the number `AP16AP-16' made it a big draw among the enthusiasts.
Deputy Transport Commissioner M. Ratna Manikyam told The Hindu that nine applications were received for the number and the highest bidder knocked it off. The fancy number would adorn a `Karizma,' one of the latest models of Bajaj-make bikes.
The auctions for numbers is carried out in a transparent manner. All the applicants, who paid Rs. 5,000 each, would have to take DDs, put them in covers and drop in a box.
The covers would be opened in front of all the concerned. The number would go the highest bidder, bringing the auction to an end.
Though `AP16AP-16' was not in the list of `special numbers' announced by the Transport Department, it became the `most-sought-after among the registration numbers.
The numbers in the first category of special numbers included 1, 9, 999 and 9999 in any series, for which one would have to pay Rs. 50,000.
The second category covered two nines, three threes, three fives, three sixes, three sevens, three eights, four twos, four threes, four sixes, four sevens and four eights. The price of each second category number came to Rs. 30,000. Third and fourth category numbers would be allotted on payment of Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 10,000 respectively. If one wanted to reserve any other number, he or she would have to pay Rs. 5,000. In the event of more than one asking for it, officials would conduct the auction.